Our new ‘Must Read’ section is dedicated to sharing the words of some of the top bloggers from within the emergency services, NHS and armed forces – both past and present.
The blogs are hand-picked by our team but do not necessarily represent the views of Emergency Services News.
Instead, they reflect the experiences of individuals who have first-hand experience of what they are writing about.
Today’s blog is written by a serving armed response officer:
“As stated before in my blogs, I cannot or will not discuss specific incidents that I have been involved in.
What I want to write about in this blog are the types of incidents that we, Armed Response Officers, attend and help deal with and the process of an armed deployment being called.
It goes without saying that any live incident where someone is reported to have a gun for criminal purposes, we will be going to it.
Generally, a 999 call is made, the call handlers take the report and pass it through to dispatch. If they think it needs a specialist response such as Armed Response, the incident gets referred to the Inspector who is based in the control room to overview everything.
This Inspector will be an accredited Firearms Commander and they will decide to send us or not. Obviously some incidents are an obvious deployment for us, some not so. The Inspector will also make the decision on the tactic that they want us to use.
The ARV’s will have an OFC (Operational Firearms Commander) and they are the person in charge of the incident. The OFC will decide where to send the ARV’s, which Officers perform each specific task, the weapons we are to deploy with, etc.
They are often a Sergeant but not always. Within the team will also be a Tactical Adviser. This will be an ARV Officer that has trained and passed a course and has a very good understanding on threat and risk and proportionality when it comes to the use of force and the appropriate tactics to use in any incident.
The control room Inspector will speak to the Tac Adviser to discuss options, contingencies and tactics.
Sometimes that conversation takes place in order to establish if we are to be deployed or not. The Tac Adviser will give their advice and recommendations but it’s still the decision of the Inspector as to us being deployed or not and to the tactics used.
As the incident runs and unfolds, the Inspector and Tac Adviser will often talk to each other to bounce ideas around and get more advice.
It’s not only when guns are involved that we get the call to arm and deploy. There is a term…Otherwise so dangerous… this is when a person can offer such a threat to the public that they can cause a threat to life.
Or we could be deployed if a person has a weapon or tool or anything adapted that could cause a threat to life or serious harm. For example, a machete, sword, axe, baseball bat with nails through it, sledge hammer etc.
The decision to what weapons we use becomes an important decision. We have ‘less lethal’ options including Taser.
I have personally been to and involved in some very serious incidents.
I have attended incidents where someone has been shot and died, ones where someone was shot and lived. Suicide by shotgun as we need to make the gun safe and recover it.
I have been involved in the arrest of people for murder, attempted murder and possession of a firearm. I have pointed guns at people in possession of a firearm and arrested them.
I have seized, recovered and made safe several firearms. I have attended incidents where house windows and doors have been shot at and vehicles shot at. I have had pursuits with people wanted for firearms offences and have been rammed off the road.
It’s not only armed deployments though.
Due to our level of medical training we often get used for this skill. We get a higher level of training than the majority of other cops because of the types of incident we deploy to.
If someone is shot, we need to try and keep them alive. But we also get sent to ambulance referrals if we can get there faster than they can for such as people in cardiac arrest or vehicle collisions where people are trapped or injured.
I have attended a number of serious collisions where people have had serious, sometimes fatal injuries. I have attended and treated gun shot wounds, machete attacks and stabbing injuries. I have treated people with internal organs protruding outside of the body and given CPR more times than I would ever want to.
We also attend general police incidents to help the response cops out when we can.
We don’t usually get asked to attend anything that will keep us tied up. For example, taking statements. Not just because we only use crayons but because, if a firearms deployment occurs, we need to go straight away.
There are only the ARV Officers that can deal with that type of incident so we need to be able to just drop anything we are doing and go. The one anomaly to that is if we are at a medical incident and providing first aid. Obviously we wouldn’t leave someone seriously injured.
Sometimes, when we attend an incident, we get there first and make an arrest.
What we can’t do is transport these prisoners to custody as it ties us up. We also don’t interview them or complete the investigation. We need to be free, as stated above.
Some unarmed officers are more than happy to help us out and take over from us. Some not so much. Some not so happy, knowing that they will get lumbered with dealing with our arrest.
I do understand that.
The response cops are so understaffed and over worked due to cut backs that they are run ragged most of the time without us handing over prisoners.
But…they can’t go to deal with the firearms threat’.
Written by @AMagistratus | Twitter